The number of internet protocol (IP) addresses globally are close to their exhaustion date of January 2012. As a solution the country has directed all internet service providers (ISP) to use the new protocol (version six) from December next year to direct their web traffic. The new protocol (IPv6) will replace the existing internet protocol version 4 (IPv4). World over, all internet traffic is expected to migrate to IPv6 in next 2-3 years.
According to a directive by the ministry of IT & communications, all central and state government ministries will have to start using IPv6 services by March, 2012. The current version of IP addresses works on 64 bits and can incorporate only 4.2 billion IP addresses. The new protocol IPv6 will work on 128-bit addresses and will be able to incorporate far more addresses.
“It’s good to put a date for the migration. Trillions of devices will get connected to the internet in future. So exhaustion of IP addresses is bound to happen. But our network is ready for IPv6 already,” said Jasjit Sawhney, Chairman and Managing Director(CMD)of Net4 India.
The current notation of IP addresses contains four numbers separated by three dots. The new protocol will have six dots separating the eight numbers which will form part of the 128 bit addressing system. There are five regional internet registrars that allocate IP addresses and domains. All of them feel that the exhaustion will be complete by January 31, 2011. The shortage also results from a fact that millions of addresses are allotted to private networks, which are left unused.
Replying to a question on IPv6 transition in the Lok Sabha last week, Sachin Pilot, Minister of state for communications & IT, also said that a task force has already been set up for IPv6 implementation. The telecom engineering centre (TEC) in the department of telecom is advising organizations that want to shift to IPv6.